17 June 2016
Sounds Air to take over Air New Zealand route between Christchurch and Blenheim
Sounds Air today announced it is taking over the Christchurch to Blenheim route that Air New Zealand recently announced it was axing. The regional airline specialist will assume the service on August 1, flying twice daily Monday-Friday. Managing director Andrew Crawford said the connection between Christchurch and Blenheim is of critical importance. “We have been overwhelmed with support to take on the sector since it was announced that Air New Zealand was stopping the service. The local health board sees it as a vital medical link between the regions with many passengers travelling to Christchurch for treatment. Business support has been very high with a great reluctance to have to travel to Christchurch via Wellington. “Initially we’ll be able to cater for 180 people each week but there’s plenty of room to grow if the route is well supported. Additional lunchtime and weekend flights, which we are planning to introduce before the end of the year, will add another 120 seats a week. This will mean we will potentially be able to cater for more than 300 passengers on the route each week.” Sounds Air will use the same Pilatus PC12 nine seater planes it flies on the Wellington to Taupo and Westport sectors. These aircraft have been very well received since their introduction over a year ago. The privately owned airline was traditionally known for its services out of Marlborough Sounds but has undergone dramatic growth in the past 18 months, expanding its usual services and also picking up two other routes dropped by Air New Zealand – the Wellington to Westport and Wellington to Taupo sectors. Established 30 years ago, the company employs over 60 staff – including 24 pilots, most of whom are based in Wellington. “In December 2003, we had one plane and 14,000 passengers. By end of 2016 we will have nine aircraft and close to 100,000 passengers. This has been achieved by offering fantastic service in modern, comfortable aircraft.” Last year, highly respected businessman and former Deputy Chairman of Lloyd’s of London John Stace was appointed as the new Chairman of Sounds Air.
Posted by Steve L at 5:44 PM